Friday, April 16, 2010

Two Shows, One Blog Post: Interview With Dr. Jack Kevorkian, Scary Ash Plume In Iceland, & More!

Hi everyone. Well, not even a week after saying I wasn't going to blog Fridays I am blogging a Friday. To make up for skipping out on you Thursday, I'm smooshing the last two night's shows into one post. Not a review, exactly, but review-ish.

Thursday, being tax day, brought us some Tea Party-related coverage. Our friends at 360 began by showing us that, historically, taxes are fairly low right now. In fact, most Americans have seen their taxes go down under this administration. Yet people are angry.

Jessica Yellin spent some time at a Tea Party protest and reports that the crowd was well-behaved with no signs of racism. It sounds like they've gotten more image conscious. Maybe I've missed it, but why does it seem like the media never actually talks to the protesters? I'd like to see a journalist do what this guy is doing. Obviously the videos at the link are edited; obviously the group has an agenda. Does that mean they're out of context? I don't know. I've never seen a journalist do similar questioning.

Anderson Cooper noted that though taxes are down now, many people are worried about the future when the Bush tax cuts expire. Thing is, Obama campaigned on that very issue and was elected with a strong mandate. The majority of the country wants those cuts to expire. Elections have consequences. Anyway, Tom Foreman also had a nice breakdown of how our taxes our spent. This overall segment wasn't bad.

The top of Friday's show brought us the news that Goldman Sachs has been accused of fraud by the SEC. Ali Velshi tried to further illuminate the situation by replacing the financial firm with an antique car dealership. Not bad, but in the battle for most original analogy, I think I'm going have to give the prize to Rachel Maddow and her poisoned donuts. It makes more sense if you watched. One of my faves, Matt Taibbi was a guest to talk about the situation, so yay for that.

Back to Thursday, the news broke that Obama had ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a rule that would prevent discrimination against same-sex couples when it came to hospital visitation. Anderson interviewed Janice Langbehn, and we learned the heart-breaking story of how Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida denied her and her children the right to see her partner Lisa on her deathbed. During the next broadcast, Anderson told us that the hospital had called to dispute Janice's story. I'd probably rather believe that one woman was lying, than that a whole group of health care professionals could be so heartless, but sadly I'm betting that's not the case.

On Thursday we also got this kinda weird taped segment with Chad Myers about the fireball seen in the Midwest (if you're wondering, no, I didn't see it), and the volcano in Iceland. It was nice to see Chad, but the segment felt out of place to me.

We had additional Iceland coverage on Friday--this time with Gary Tuchman reporting from on-the-ground. I know Gary's a traveling man, but it seems like he's really getting around lately. Just thinking about his frequent flyer miles makes me tired. As for the story, that is one crazy-huge plume of ash. Gary talked to a nervous farmer who has already had to deal with flooding because the volcano erupted under a glacier and it melted. Now they're worried what happens when the ash comes. Scary.

Before Gary's piece, Anderson had noted all the grounded flights in Europe. In a Randi Kaye report, we learned why it is a very bad idea to fly though ash. Apparently, ash contain glass, which will melt on an engine and cause it to stop working--which is exactly what happened to a flight in 1982. National Geographic did a reenactment. Everyone survived, but that's not an experience I'd want to have.

Friday also contained a debate between Chris Hitchens and Tony Perkins, regarding the National Day of Prayer. I have to admit, when I heard their names, I burst out laughing. Because really? Please. These people are so entrenched in their ideals that there's no way anything enlightening could come out of a conversation between the two. What's the point? I find these segments controversy-driven and wish they'd save it for HLN.

Both nights we had segments of Anderson interviewing Dr. Jack Kevorkian. It was interesting, though to be honest, when Anderson tweeted for us to send him questions, I couldn't think of a single thing I really cared to hear him answer. I'm not familiar with every person Kevorkian helped die, but I really don't have any issues with him ending a terminally ill person's suffering. Mental illness? A handicap? That gets more complicated.

Kevorkian is right in that doctors play God all the time. I disagree with his belief that the "death panel" controversy during health care reform was about religion. I think that was strictly about politics. Anyway, like I said, the interview was fairly interesting, but I have a strong aversion to promotion disguised as news. Let's cut the crap here; HBO is airing a film on Kevorkian (we're even joined by stars Susan Sarandon, John Goodman, and director Barry Levinson) and their parent company, Time Warner, is also the parent company of CNN.

That children, is why these interviews occurred. That's not to say 360 wouldn't have jumped at the chance to interview Kevorkian anyway. It just leaves a bad taste in one's mouth. Also, it was weird to watch the actors talking about him when he was sitting right there. Sarandon made a good point regarding upping a patient's morphine. She's right, it happens a lot, yet it's never become an issue.

On Thursday, Anderson interviewed comedian Lewis Black...for like a minute. Seriously, it was comically short. Lewis didn't even get a chance to get his blood pressure up! I'm assuming it was cut for the breaking news on the Obama order. Otherwise, why bother? The "shot" contained Lewis in the green room, so there's that. Also? He tells us that Wolf Blitzer used to be a werewolf. Silly Lewis, robots can't be werewolves.

The "shot" on Friday was a clip of Willie Nelson admitting to Larry King that he had smoked pot before the interview. Dude, I'd smoke pot before an interview with Larry King as well. I kid! Anyway, those jokesters at 360 have edited the clip to make Willie appear really stoned. Anderson thinks this is HILarious. Laugh it up, Silver Fox. What if someone edited clips of you to make you look drunk? Oh, wait.

The shows weren't too bad. I still have no idea what's going on with the second half of the broadcast. Is the "Big 360" interview always a celeb? Because you can't have Chelsea Handler one night and then, say, Bill Clinton the next. You're going to give your viewers whiplash, 360. Also, the celeb thing is going to get old real quick. I guess we'll see what next week brings.

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